Gord Downie's brave decision to publicly announce he has been diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer has stirred many to share stories, express sympathy, and vent their own grief at his news. What follows is a small collection of the posts appearing on Facebook yesterday. What they all have in common is a great affection for a man who at some point with his band created a soundtrack for some part of their life.
Gord Downie is the people's poet laureate, the man who built the bridge between high art and hoser culture. He is a tireless supporter of Canadian independent music and someone who never compromised his creative goals for commercial gain, yet achieved unprecedented success in Canada on his own terms and helped create our cultural identity. He's a trailblazer, one of a kind, a true Canadian hero. The news of his illness is tragic but what he's given us will last forever. -- Heather Morgan
Just stopped me in my tracks.
I feel privileged to have been at many of their early Toronto shows, including that infamous one at the Horseshoe that landed them their MCA contract - and almost didn't! To have met them and to have enjoyed their music through the years.
My heart is with Gord Downie and his family as well as their greater band family." -- Shirley McQueen
Gord Downie, I think you're a remarkable human being. -- Dani Eliwell
"Jacques Cartier, right this way, I'll put your coat up on the bed
Hey, man, you've got the real bum's eye for clothes"
Rarely has someone been able to capture with both authenticity and humour in the form of songs and poems the allure of this great country of ours like Mr. Downie has.
I've struggled with this current news all day, and words and thoughts have been many, but with the sadness they have also been very hard to get out in any sensical or meaningful fashion.
I can't even imagine the pain that Gord, his family and bandmates must be facing at this moment.
If we could somehow as a Country conjure up all of the joy, wonder, humour and magic that Gord has given us all over the last 30 years, and send it back to him as healing energy, then now my friends would be the time to do it.
Strength to you Gord, there are more songs to write and sing and there is more magic to make... -- Brian Hetherman
Heartbroken at the news of my pal Gord Downie's illness. A great man, a great guy, a great father and husband, a great talent, a great teammate, a great business partner, a great Canadian. He has given us all so much, let's give him and his wonderful family our prayers and best wishes. -- Michael Hollett
My thoughts are with Gord Downie, his family and the entire Tragically Hip family. -- Steve Kane
Gutted to hear about Gord Downie. One of the brightest threads in the tapestry of Canadian music, and just a really nice guy. Definitely one of the artists I always wanted to collaborate with. Thanks for lending us your shine, Gord. I hope this tour brings you fulfilment and whatever else you may need. Thank you... your music built scaffolding around my backbone and helped convince me to use my own voice. -- Shane Koyczan
Devastating news today about Gord Downie. My prayers are with him, his family and all those whose lives the Hip have touched. He is an important voice of my generation for which I will be forever grateful. -- (MP) Gord Johns
Rotten news about Gord Downie. Cancer sucks. Sending my thoughts and prayers to Gord and all his loved ones.
Every Canadian has a favourite Tragically Hip song. Mine is Ahead By A Century -- Hon. Rona Ambrose
"No dress rehearsal, this is our life."
Gord Downie, the frontman for Canadian rock legends The Tragically Hip, has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. The band is planning a farewell tour.
Let that sink in, and now wrap your head around how truly powerful music can be. The relationship between a band and their devoted fan base is awe-inspiring.
A pilgrimage to Canada may be necessary to pay homage and farewell to a part of my musical heritage. -- Will Enrique
I'm resisting the urge to eulogize Gord Downie as he is not dead yet and perhaps won't be for a while yet. Where there is life there is hope. I'll have my own stories to tell but they can wait, hopefully for a good bit. That doesn't mean I can't dial up one of my fave Hip tracks. -- Moe Berg
I first saw the Hip when they played in the Horseshoe tavern in Toronto, a new band that I became obsessed with quickly. As a stagehand, I rigged many of the New Years Eve shows and would make sure that anytime they played a stadium show I could work and sit in the rafters and watch the energy, beauty and talent that this band exuded. I grew up with The Hip, from 17 years old they were part of my soundtrack. As the hardest working band it doesn't surprise me that they will be doing one last tour. Gord Downie, thank you for your music and my life experiences that as a stagehand, have shaped who I am today. Enjoy your tour. I will be thinking of my childhood up on a beam, listening. -- Susan Chappell
Four years ago, when we first had to deal with this horrible cancer, I kept reading online that it was extremely rare.
It isn't nearly as rare as experts and statisticians think it is. At least; not anymore.
I've said this before, but: there's a fine line between hypochondria and nasty diseases lurking just around the corner. It's a real shame we can't somehow effectively check for cancers more often, without such frequent tests being (1) potentially risky to one's overall health; (2) overly expensive; and (3) overly taxing an already saturated health system.
(Early detection doesn't necessarily do much good in all cases of cancers, but it sure could with several.) -- Robin Marshall
Really having a rough time with this Gord Downie news today.
The Hip were and are hugely important to me. It's tragic to lose larger than life rock stars, but Downie is a different stripe entirely. A quieter frontman, very much the Canadian Michael Stipe in that you had a shy poetic quiet dude that became a kind of third rail Jagger when the lights hit him. For those of us that were plain and boring but with a little artsy bent he is like seeing ourselves up there.
I shouldn't be talking about him like he's already dead. But the world should take advantage of his being in it while he still is.
I will absolutely try to make it to one of these final shows. -- Jason Malmberg
It's corny to say but if there was one band that was the soundtrack for my university years, it was certainly Tragically Hip. News of Gord Downie's health is truly sad.
I still listen to Wheat Kings virtually every day. It's the story of David Milgaard. -- Matthew Johnston
As much as I am devastated for Gord's family, we all know that gord will find a moment in this and rise above a conclusive statement and redefine how we see life, death and the journey that lies ahead. If anyone can bring peace to this horrible situation it's Gord Downie. -- Josie Dye
For my fellow Canadians, this is incredibly sad news. The Hip has a special place in many of our hearts. My husband can't count the number of times he's seen them in concert. Their amazing music has woven its way through important parts of our relationship (from concerts together with friends, to a birthday cake I had made for him with The Tragically Hip on it, to the poetry book Gord wrote that I got him for his birthday, and their song titles we had in place of table numbers at our wedding, not to mention dancing the night away to their music and more). That's how much of an impact they've made just on us, never mind all who love their music. Thinking of Gord, his family and friends. -- Emerald O'Brien
21 years ago I saw The Tragically Hip at the Capital City Speedway during their Another Road Side Attraction Tour. It poured rain all day. Most of the concert grounds was covered in 6 inches of water and mud, and there was a small river flowing across the field. I was soaking wet, bought a garbage bag from a vendor so I could make it into a rain poncho. At one point i was standing by the side of the stage and Gord Downie walked by and shook hands with everyone standing there. It was a great experience, one of the best shows I've ever seen.
Wish you the best Gord. -- Chris Smith
I woke up this morning to the news of Gord Downie's Glioblastoma Multiform diagnosis. As a fan and a fellow human being I am devastated for him and his family! This hits way too close to home as this is the same disease that my Stepfather Kevin and our family have been struggling with this past 14 months. After being given a three month prognosis Kevin is beating the odds every single day. I am so incredibly proud of him and his warrior attitude. More than 27 people a day in Canada are diagnosed with a brain tumor and 9 of those people have GBM. This aggressive form of brain cancer is incurable and there are very little options for treatment. Some of the last resort treatments are very expensive and can cost upwards of $3000 a week and are not covered. We need to raise awareness because not enough funding is going towards this type of cancer!
Wheat Kings happens to be my favourite song. Very fitting that it was one of the first things Kevin and I bonded over. We were driving somewhere and that song came up on my playlist. Being from South Africa he had heard the song many years ago and had it on a mixed tape but wasn't sure who sang it. From there he was hooked and they even played The Hip at their wedding! I was listening to a live performance The Tragically Hip did of ;Wheat Kings' many years ago. During the introduction of the song Gord referred to being locked up in prison for a crime you didn't commit. This is Glioblastoma! Nobody deserves this! I know what this song was written about but it has taken on a whole new meaning for me today!
Know that you are not alone and miracles happen every day. We are behind you, your nation is behind you! -- Jennifer Krywiak
It's not very often I'm affected by sad news of someone that I've never met in the entertainment industry. This morning I read this: https://www.thestar.com/…/tragically-hip-singer-gord-downie…
The Tragically Hip have been with me for many car rides, late nights and pregame music mixes for a very long time. They were on the stereo of the bus after we qualified for the Olympics with Team Canada in Panama in '03. The Hip were with us pre and post game in the clubhouse on the stereo during the World Baseball Classic in '06, '09 and '13. They helped connect us as Canadians and bring us together through their music.
There are families affected by sad news like this every day. I feel like, as a Canadian, Gord Downie is part of a very large extended family. While this news saddens me, I feel fortunate to have grown up listening to their unique sound and to have witnessed them perform some of the best live shows I have ever seen.
Thank you Gord for what you have done for music in Canada and best of luck. -- Justin Morneau
The first news I received today hit me hard...
Like someone punched me in the stomach.
Gord Downie, the lead singer of the incredible Canadian group The Tragically Hip, or just The Hip, as we call them, announced today that he has terminal brain cancer.
There's no cure for the aggressive type he has, so this summer they will be having a farewell tour across Canada. One last time....
The Hip blasted onto the Canadian music scene in the late 80's, and through the 90's were at the very top of Canadian music.
They helped define not just the 90's generation, but also became an integral part of Canada itself. Like Tim Horton's and Maple Syrup, The Hip was...no, is..... part of us as Canadians.
My generation had The Guess Who and BTO, and The Hip became the 90's version of them.
Their music was everywhere back then. On the radio, on TV (Much Music), in the record stores, at parties, in the car, at BBQ's......really, everywhere.
To me, their music is pure Canadian rock. No tricks of mixing. No auto-tune, or hours of fine tuning the vocal tracks.
Just pure, straight ahead rock.
Gord's amazing energy on stage was also what made them so incredible.
The albums always left me wanting more, of course, and the album Fully Completely is right at the top of my list as the best Canadian rock album of all time.
You know those songs that you just can't listen to quietly? The ones that get your heart pumping and your toes tapping?
Well, for me this is one of them.
I can see myself at 90 years old still cranking this up! -- Larry Haines
This is terrible news. I remember going to their first ever show in NYC in an old converted church with Howie and Jake Gold. If I remember it correctly there were maybe 30 people there at most! -- Joel Rabinowitz
Early Spring 1996. I'm at Hip manager Jake Gold's office for a meeting. Some things may or may not have been smoked. Jake rummages in his desk, and says to the assembled, "this just came back today. Wanna hear it?" The first gold master of the final mix down for Henhouse. This is the first thing we hear. Pure magical bliss.
Thinking of you today, Gord Downie. Much Metta to you and your family. - Kent Wakely
Grace, always -- Steve Jordan
Gord Downie is a true original who has been writing Canada’s soundtrack for more than 30 years -- Justin Trudeau via Twitter
-- CBC has collated various tweets about Downie made by musicians and politicians that can be viewed here.